Brendan Ferris - Sheepdog Trials, County Kerry
If you ever wondered how sheep dogs were trained to round up sheep then a trip to Kells Sheep Center is a must. Kells Sheep Center is run by Sheepdog trainer Brendan Ferris, is located on the Ring of Kerry on the N70, halfway between Cahersiveen and Glenbeigh. Brendan trains Border Collies in the art of sheep herding and his amazing skills are clearly demonstrated when you watch hi at work.
Watching Brendan in action with his Border Collies is a real treat as they respond to his every command. It takes Brendan between one to one and a half years to fully train these dogs and they go on to work for eight to nine years. Brendan always has four dogs trained and two learning at all times. Visitors can watch demonstrations of sheep dogs rounding up sheep.
How do farmers round up grazing sheep for sheering in June? To demonstrate, Brendan Ferris whistles and tweets only for Max the sheepdog to swiftly bounded up the slope to herd the flock to the right. All it takes is for Brendan to say:"Steady, Max. Steady. Sit down," and Max drops to the ground, obediently rested on his belly. "When we move sheep over long distances, we need to let the sheep dogs rest." says Ferris.
Ferris truly shows mastery in skill and watching him and Max in action is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.
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